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[[folder: Main Characters]]
!!Cullen Bohannon
->Played by: Anson Mount
* AntiHero: Type IV. Shades of Type III and Type V depending on his mood. He's brutal, vengeange-obsessed and sometimes [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold an asshole]], but he is still fighting for the right cause.
* AsskickingEqualsAuthority
* {{Badass}}
** BadassBeard: Since the first season.
* CartwrightCurse: His first wife is murdered by renegade Union men, along with their children. [[spoiler: He later falls in love with Lily Bell, who is murdered by The Swede. His bond with Ruth Cole was kept from developing into romance after he is forced into marrying Naomi, the Mormon girl he got pregnant. He only learns Ruth had feelings for him the night before she is executed for killing a man. After this he tries to find Naomi and his son, but can't locate them after their Mormon community scattered after disease and Indian attacks ravaged them. It's possible they're already dead.]]
* DeathSeeker: Becomes one very briefly in season 2, due to [[spoiler: murdering an innocent man and feeling nothing about it]].
* AFatherToHisMen: Becomes this when he becomes Head Engineer.
* FireForgedFriends: With Elam eventually
* GuileHero:
** Very cunning when he's not blinded by vengeance, not to mention his knowledge of American history and warfare.
** Season 2 provides further proof to this [[spoiler: with him playing Durant and the workers like a fiddle, then executing ThePlan he set up to get the workers back to their jobs. It works like a charm]].
%%* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Gives Bohannon a rather ''nasty'' one.
* HonorBeforeReason: He marries and stays with Naomi out of honor. Even she notes he could just leave her.
* IDidWhatIHadToDo: This is mostly his defense when asked about all the murders he had to commit in Hell On Wheels.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: He is by no means a gentle person, but deep down, he knows what's right.
* KnightInSourArmor: Bohannon has a extremely pessimistic worldview and trusts no one, but this doesn't keep him from helping those in need.
* MrFanservice: He is the character with the biggest amount of shirtless scenes. Which surprises no one, considering Anson Mount's muscular physique.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Once he realizes just [[KillEmAll what]] [[RapePillageAndBurn he]] summoned when he asked for [[AxCrazy Major Bendix]]'s help.
* NiceHat: Bohannon has a minor obsession with hats, and he always grabs a hold of one.
* RevengeBeforeReason: Bohannon overrides any sense of self-preservation or logic if revenge is the reward. [[spoiler: This in particular blows up ons his face when he murders a innnocent man because of the illusion this man killed his wife.]]
* ShellShockedVeteran: Cullen participated in the slaughter of wounded soldiers and medics. It is evident this didn't do him good.
* TheSociopath: He isn't even close to being this, but expresses fear of becoming one [[spoiler: after not feeling guilty for his brutal murder of an innocent man]].
* UnscrupulousHero: He will do everything it takes for the railroad.
** SociopathicHero: Sometimes gets to this point when his actions get more and more extreme.
* WarriorPoet: A very well-read soldier.

!!Thomas "Doc" Durant
->Played by: Colm Meaney
* AffablyEvil: He is a true gentleman, charming and polite even as profiteering of the slaughter of indians.
* AllLoveIsUnrequited: Regarding Mrs. Bell.
* AntiVillain: A Type I, being a businessman at heart, he keeps his promises.
* AuthorityEqualsAsskicking: Fights for his Railroad with tooth and nail.
* BigBad: [[spoiler: Is shaping up to be this for the third season.]]
* BreakingTheFourthWall: Did it at the end of the first episode. [[BigLippedAlligatorMoment Has not done it since]].
* CardCarryingVillain: If you want him to play the villain, he'll gladly do it.
* TheChessmaster: While he routinely suffers from DidntSeeThatComing, Durant can [[OutGambitted outgambit]] people with the best of them.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive: His CorruptCorporateExecutive credentials are all TruthInTelevision. The real Durant did set up Credit Mobilier to pay himself for building his own railroad, he did use "oxbow" curves to arbitrarily increase the length of the railroad and get more government money, he did bribe senators, and (as mentioned by Bohannon in their first meeting) he did make a lot of money smuggling embargoed cotton out of the Confederacy during the Civil War.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: He has a few (''very'' few) lines he will not cross.
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: He was always something of a {{Jerkass}} with some soft spots, but as of the third season, he has also decided to destroy Bohannon. Most of his PetTheDog moments also vanished with the death of Lily Bell.]]
* {{Jerkass}}: While he can be quite a gentleman, Durant cares about profit first and foremost, and he loves to remind people of such.
** JerkWithAHeartOfGold: While he is very arrogant, corrupt and self-serving, Durant does have empathy and will show compassion when he has no reason to.
* LargeHam: Half the appeal of the series is watching Colm Meaney chew the scenery.
* ManipulativeBastard: As his interactions with Senator Crane demonstrate, Durant is a master of psychological manipulation.
* NotMeThisTime: When a Marshall confronts him over a particular crime, Durant notes he has no clue what he's talking about. Ironically, for the one time in the series, Durant is telling the truth. [[spoiler: Doesn't save him from the Marshall's wrath, though.]]
* PetTheDog: Most of his interactions with Mrs. Bell show his kinder nature.
** [[spoiler: KickTheDog: Then he tries to have her killed]]
* PragmaticVillainy: Durant he seeks profit, and nothing more. He won't go out of his way to be evil if it doesn't involve acquiring posessions. However, the same goes for being good.
* RagsToRiches: He wasn't always a rich railroad baron.
* RailroadBaron: As mentioned under corrupt corporate executive, he's paying himself to build a railroad with government subsidies.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Bribes senators
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections: He know many senators and others.
* TookALevelInBadass: He was mostly a NonActionGuy but [[spoiler:in the second season finale he fights the Sioux on his own accord, with a rifle without backing down]]

!!Elam Ferguson
->Played by: Common
* AntiHero: While Fergurson's plight as a black man in the 1800s is very sympathetic and he has a good sense of morals, he has a tendency to be very selfish and violent.
* BadassPreacher: Not an ''official'' Preacher, but he served as one in his youth.
* CharacterDeath: [[spoiler: Maybe, maybe not.]]
** In the episode "Elam Ferguson" [[spoiler: he is gunned down by Bohannon after going mad, shortly after he was revealed to have survived his encounter with the bear at the end of season three.]]
* CoveredInScars: After [[spoiler: the bear attack.]]
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: [[spoiler: After going half a season thinking he got eaten by a bear, we finally discover he survived the attack, but the injuries he sustained likely left him with PTSD. This combined with the fact that he apparently developed amnesia after being rescued, nursed back to health and converted by the Comanches. He later returns to Cheyenne, clearly deranged and attempting to sell three women as if they were slaves. After repeated attempts to get through to him, a fight escalates between him and Bohannon, and ends when Bohannon shoots Elam.]]
* EyeScream: [[spoiler: After being attacked by a bear,]] his eye is left blinded and pulpy white.
* FireForgedFriends: With Bohannon.
%%* MrFanservice
* NeverFoundTheBody: After going after Bohannon, he was never found. [[spoiler: He is shown in season 4 to have been taken in by Comanches after his fight with a bear and slowly going out of his mind, which ends very badly for him once he decides to return to Cheyenne.]]
%%* NiceHat
* SanitySlippage: After he becomes [[spoiler: "Bear Killer."]]
* ScaryBlackMan: A heroic one, but Fergurson can be a ''very'' scary man when he wants to.
* ShaggyDogStory: What his arc seems to be [[until it becomes a ShootTheShaggyDog case.]]
* StarCrossedLovers: With Eva; he's black, she's white in the racist 1860s.
* TookALevelInBadass: Multiple. He starts the series as a common worker of Durant, but after some bouts with the Irish and Bohannon's training, Fergurson becomes a expert marksman, second only to Bohannon himself in Hell On Wheels.
* WhatTheHellHero: Gets one from Toole over [[spoiler: his treatment of Eva after he gets her pregnant]]

!!Lily Bell
->Played by Dominique [=McElligott=]
* CharacterDeath: [[spoiler: choked by The Swede]]
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: Graphically choked by The Swede.]]
* DamselOutOfDistress: Lily Bell stabs the man who killed her husband with his own arrow, treks however many miles alone and sews up her own wound before she's rescued.
* {{Determinator}}: Crawled through some five miles of mud, with an arrow wound on her hand, starving and without water, ''as she was pursued by Indians''. Most people would go home and rest after such a experience. Mrs.Bell instead went right back to work.
* DeterminedHomesteadersWife: ''Was'' this, until her husband died in the first episode. She then spends the rest of the show as a DeterminedWidow
* [[GuileHero Guile Heroine]]: Lily is clever enough to impress [[TheChessmaster Durant]], and is matches him in knowledge of economics and psychology. [[spoiler: A fitting example being when she escaped a murder attempt by convicing the assassin to side with her.]]
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: She trusts [[ManipulativeBastard The Swede]]; not a particularly smart thing to do.
* [[GentlemanSnarker Proper Lady Snarker]]: Moresoever around Durant, but it's there.
* [[GentlemanAndAScholar Lady and a Scholar]]: The most educated person on Hell on Wheels, as well as the kindest.
* NumberTwo: To Durant, until Hanna comes along.
* SacrificialLion: [[spoiler: Her death is the final straw on Bohannon's sanity, and The Swede's final work.]]
* SilkHidingSteel: Bell is a ProperLady of highest kind, polite and civil in all occasions, but do ''not'' try to push her around, for she ''will' fight back with all she has.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Recurring Characters]]
!!Reverend Cole
->Played by: Tom Noonan
%%* AlasPoorVillain
* TheAlcoholic: for the first half of the second season
* TheAtoner: his attempts to [[spoiler: assist the Sioux and kidnap/kill Durant]] could be seen as his attempt to atone for his inability to help the Cheyenne in the first season
* BadassPreacher: He's a minister who fights with a saber.
* TheCameo: In flashback form in Season 4, Episode 11 back to his days in Bleeding Kansas.
* CharacterDeath: Near the end of the second season.
* CloudCuckooLander: Showing signs of this in season 2.
* CoolSword: A magnificent saber is his "weapon of choice".
* DespairEventHorizon: [[spoiler: After the Cheyenne's attack on the railway]]
* DisappearedDad: was one to his daughter, until she turned up in Hell on Wheels
* DiscOneFinalBoss: [[spoiler: He is slain, but the Sioux aren't even half-way done by the time he dies]]
* FaceHeelTurn: [[spoiler: Started off as one of the most moral white characters of the series, ended up as one of the most villainous.]]
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler: "Behold...your legacy."]]
* GodsHandsAreTied: What he comes to believe after crossing the DespairEventHorizon.
* GoodShepherd: He tries but can't quite pull it off because of his lack of faith strength.
* GoOutWithASmile: [[spoiler: He dies with a wide grin on his face.]]
* HeelRealization: [[spoiler: Right before his death, he apologizes for his sins to Ruth, saying he's been a horrible father.]]
* IfJesusThenAliens: Averted. Despite being a minister, he doesn't believe in urban legends.
* KnightTemplar: [[spoiler: "The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people will see it, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." Indeed.]]
* OddFriendship: With The Swede.
* OnlySaneMan: The matter is Indians where he is the only person to even consider the possibility of peace.
* PreacherMan: Started off as this, gets more ambiguous as season progresses.
* SanitySlippage: After the Cheyenne Attack on the railroad, he becomes unhinged and becomes alcoholic. It only gets worse and worse from there.
* StraightEdgeEvil: [[spoiler: Played with. He starts his sanity slippage and descent into evil by drinking himself to oblivion, but is little more than a CloudCuckooLander at that point, he only becomes truly evil after he stops drinking.]]
* ThoseTwoGuys: Hangs about with The Swede in season 2.
* TragicVillain: [[spoiler: He was driven into villainy by the sheer cruelty of the [[CrapsackWorld world]] he lived in, and because of his alcoholism]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: [[spoiler: He tries to kill Durant to end the massacre of the Indians.]]

!!Joseph Black Moon
->Played by: Creator/EddieSpears
* TheAtoner: For his past misdeeds as a proud and brave Indian Warrior.
* ShootTheDog: [[spoiler: Or knife the Reverend rather, the only way to stop his murderous rampage.]]
* StarCrossedLovers: With Ruth. Fate always intervenes when they're about to get together.

!!Eva
->Played by: Robin [=McLeavy=]
* BiTheWay: Seems willing to sleep with Louise in a moment of grief, but Louise refuses.
* ButtMonkey: Suffers one indignity and trauma after another, especially in season four in which [[spoiler: she no longer has her baby, loses Elam ''twice'', is violently raped, and becomes a cold, reckless drunk.]]
* TheCynic: Gradually turns into one over the course of the series. And it's not as if she started out as a WideEyedIdealist either.
* GoodScarsEvilScars: She was captured by a Native tribe when she was younger and they tattooed her chin with her worth, three horses and a blanket. This sets her apart from her fellow white people.
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: She's a NiceGirl and a prostitute.
* OutOfFocus: In season four, when she spends most of her time grieving over Elam and sinking deeper into depression.
* ScrewThisImOutOfHere: [[spoiler: With Mickey at the end of season four.]]
* StarCrossedLovers: With Elam; he's black and she's white in the racist 1860's
* TattooAsCharacterType: The tattoo on Eva's mouth, signifying her history as a captive living amongst the Native Americans.
* YourCheatingHeart: [[spoiler: Cheats on Toole]]

!!Toole
->Played by: Duncan Ollerenshaw
* TheAtoner: [[spoiler: He saw the virgin mary, now he seeks to make up for his past sins as a racist ass.]]
* BackFromTheDead: [[spoiler: Appeared alive after being (seemingly fatally) shot in the mouth.]]
* CosmicPlaything: Things ''always'' go awry for him.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Having enough of the world and its cruelty, he eventually finishes his own life.]]
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler: "Father, forgive me"]]
* FreudianExcuse: Toole and his Irish followers are racist assholes to prove that they're not bottom of the barrel anymore. TruthInTelevision for many RealLife Irish immigrants in the 19th century.
%%* HeelFaithTurn
* {{Jerkass}}: Has gotten better since [[spoiler: his HeelFaithTurn]]
* TheLancer: Becomes this for Bohannon in season 2.
* LastNameBasis: His first name was never mentioned. [[spoiler: until his funeral, that is.]]
* PetTheDog: [[spoiler: When he finds out Eva is pregnant by another man. He figures out that it's Elam but instead of killing one or both of them gives Elam a WhatTheHellHero speech and returns to comfort Eva, apparently willing to accept the child as his own.]]
* SmugSnake: [[spoiler: Before his HeelFaithTurn, now he's more akin to a JerkWithAHeartOfGold]]
* OddFriendship: With one of the black workers (keep in mind this man tried to hang Fergurson for no other reason other than ''being black'' a few episodes before). It was the result of his HeelFaithTurn after Elam's bullet incredibly didn't kill him.

!!Pawnee Killer
->Played by: Gerald Auger
* CainAndAbel: The Cain to Moon's Able because of his extreme measures.
* CharacterDeath [[spoiler: via attack InTheBack]]
* WellIntentionedExtremist: His methods are extreme but he's only defending his people.

!!Sean and Mickey [=McGinness=]
->Played by: Ben Esler & Phil Burke
* TheAmericanDream: Two Irish immigrants trying to make it big in America. They both end up as Deconstructions of the concept.
* {{Badass}}: Mickey post-character development. In season four he even makes short work of a Federal Marshall.
** BadassBoast: "I built my fortune from nothing, and I'll do it again. This time without the likes of you, or Durant." Says Mickey in season four.
* BenevolentBoss: As far as whores go, Mickey is often remarked as being a very good pimp.
* BerserkButton: Do not mess with Mickey's Casino.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Mickey. [[spoiler: Just ask the Butcher (whom he butchered) Or Carl (whom he blackmailed for being an asshole).]]
* BrainsAndBrawn: Sean is the brains, Mickey is the brawn. This is Lampshaded by Sean early in the second season. The dynamic is played with later, when Mickey acquires a better sense of judgement than Sean in a few occasions and fully subverted in Season 3 where Mickey becomes far more intelligent than Sean, who is much more prone to mistakes.
* CainAndAbel: Season 3 sees the brothers getting increasingly more antagonistic towards each other. [[spoiler: In the end, the Abel kills the Cain: Mickey shoots Sean when he gets out of control.]]
* CharacterDeath: [[spoiler: Mickey kills Sean.]]
* TheChewToy: Sean can't catch a break from mid-season 2 onwards.
* CharacterDevelopment: Mickey starts the show as very naive, easily scared and bumbling, but as his time on Hell On Wheels passed by, he became a much more assertive and clever man.
* DespairEventHorizon: Sean goes flying across it when [[spoiler: Mickey abandons him to his fate.]]
* [[DidYouJustFlipOffCthulhu Did You Just Flip Off Durant?]]: Mickey is a pimp, Durant is a master manipulator and one of the wealthiest and most influential men ''in America'' who could destroy him with a flick of his wrist, yet Mickey is not afraid to lay the verbal smackdown on Durant, and he barely flinches when Durant makes his (very serious) threats.
* {{Greed}}: Sean's main motivation. It makes him a {{Jerkass}}.
* KickTheDog: Sean trying to profit off people's mysery.
* KilledMidSentence: [[spoiler: Sean goesn't get to finish his confession before Mickey shoots him dead.]]
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: In season four, [[spoiler: after losing his quarrel with John Campbell upon the arrival of union soldiers, Mickey accepts defeat and decides to leave Cheyenne with his whores, his Dead Rabbit friend and Eva.]]
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: Sean suffers from this. Unless stalking people in the night is a sign of sanity.
* TheMole: [[spoiler: Sean, to Durant in season 3.]]
* NiceGuy: Mickey treats everyone with respect and a warm smile.
* NoodleIncident: Mickey did something in Boston. We're never told what, exactly. [[spoiler: Until season 3's "It happened in Boston", in which Mickey explains to us that Sean fell in love with two girls, did some horrifying crime to both of them in a fit of rage.]]
* NotSoDifferent: Sean had a burning hatred for the Swede and his way of doing business, but after the Swede is down, he ends up conducting business with the same methods. He does not realize the similarity.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Mickey, when he becomes the chief of the whorehouse.
* SelfMadeMan: Mickey bececomes Mayor of Cheyenne.
* ThoseTwoGuys: They're always together. As noted by Brains and Brawn, there's a reason for this.
* TookALevelInBadass: Due to his CharacterDevelopment, Mickey became quite clever and hard to catch, impressing even Durant. By season four he's a small-scale chessmaster.
* TheSociopath: Very likely [[spoiler: Mickey.]] It is strongly implied that he murdered the two girls in Boston and later [[spoiler: shot his brother in the back when Sean was on the verge of revealing it to Ruth.]] His creepy conversation with Eva about how "all women are whores, except my mum" while bathing her after she's raped is just as telling. On top of all this, we must also consider his willingness to do things like assassinate people and dismember corpses.
* SpannerInTheWorks: Mickey is indirectly the cause for [[spoiler: the assault on Durant, due to his murder of Jessup.]]
* StalkerWithACrush: Sean on Ruth.
* WellDoneSonGuy: Mickey has the brotherly variation of this, always seeking Sean's approval. He [[CharacterDevelopment seems to have grown out]] by season 3.
* WildCard: In season four, [[spoiler: Mickey decides to give a metaphorical middle finger to both Campbell and Durant, and play things to his own advantage]].

%%!!Dix
%%->Played by: Diego Diablo Del Mar
%%* CharacterDeath

!!Psalms
->Played by: Dohn Norwood
* AscendedExtra: He was a fairly minor character, but from around season three to four, he became one of the major characters.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: Psalms is easy going, but not someone you'd want to anger.
* ADayInTheLimelight: It's not much, but season three's "Searchers" sees him having more screentime and characterization than usual, complete with a MotiveRant.
* TheLancer: To Elam.
* MeaningfulName: According to himself, his name was chosen by his mother, in homage to a bible verse where God swears to punish the wicked. Thus, Psalms is a very justice focused man.
* OnlyFriend: To Fergurson. In season four he becomes this for Bohannon.
* RankUp: He becomes one of the worker-bosses in season four.
* ScaryBlackMan: Heroic, but Lord in heaven do not piss him off...
* TortureTechnician: He's very good at it.
* VitriolicBestBuds: His relationship with Elam.

%%!!Bolan
%%->Played by: Ian Tracey
%%* CharacterDeath

!!Ruth Cole
->Played by: Kasha Kropinski
* BadassPreacher: for most of the show's run, she is a fairly pacifistic character, able to see the good in most people. [[spoiler: Until Sidney Snow's actions kill her adoptive son, and she shoots him with a truly ''blood-chilling'' look of rage on her face]]
* BreakTheCutie: Woman ''cannot'' catch a break. [[spoiler: From losing her father to being stalked by Sean to watching Sean get brutally gunned down in front of her. Finally, she goes over the edge when she loses the Mormon boy she viewed as her own son to her church burning down, and takes revenge on the man responsible. After refusing to be pardoned for this crime and continuing to plead guilty, she is executed at a public hanging.]].
* CallingTheOldManOut: [[spoiler: When her father loses his faith, she tears into him.]]
* CharacterDeath: [[spoiler: In season four. She is hanged.]]
* TheConscience: Acts as this for Bohannon in season 3.
* DeathSeeker: After [[spoiler: Sidney Snow kills Ezra in a fire and Ruth shoots Snow, she is determined to be tried as a murderer and executed for her crime. She gets her wish.]]
* DespairEventHorizon: See DeathSeeker above.
* FieryRedhead: She doesn't seem it at first but develops it later.
* GoodShepherd: Is trying to fill the role [[spoiler: abandoned by her father with her own stronger faith. Is much better at it than he was.]]
* HeroesWantRedheads: Sean definitely does it.
* NotSoDifferent: The episode "Bleeding Kansas" seems to suggest she is this to her father. [[spoiler: In the end, they both die as murderers.]]
* ParentalAbandonment: Cole hasn't seen her for most (if not all) of her life, despite knowing of her existence.
* StarCrossedLovers: With Joseph. Fate always seems to get in the way when they're close to being together.
** Later with [[spoiler: Bohannon.]] Near the end of her arc, she confesses to being in love with him, but was too cowardly to make him hers. They truly became star-crossed when [[spoiler: Cullen got Naomi Hatch pregnant and was forced into marrying her by her Mormon family.]]
* TokenGoodTeammate: She's probably the only member of the railroad who doesn't have some sort of innocent blood on her hands. [[spoiler: Until she shoots Sidney Snow, not that he really counts as "innocent blood"]]
* ValuesDissonance: Is kind even to those she considers Godless heathens...such as for instance Catholics and Mormons, who she believes to be doomed to Hell.

!!Many Horses
->Played by: Wes Studi
* AFatherToHisMen: He always treats his warriors with outmost respect.
* AntagonisticOffspring: Pawnee Killer is more of a WellIntentionedExtremist than Many Horses.
* ArmorPiercingQuestion: It's something of a character trait for him to deliver these. For example, while talking about the land issues with the US government:
-->'''[[CorruptPolitician Sen. Crane]]''': It's not yours, it's the US Government's.
-->'''Many Horses''': Did they buy it?
-->'''Sen.Crane''': No-
-->'''Many Horses''': Did they trade for it?
-->'''Durant''': It's not like that-
-->'''Many Horses''': Then how can they own it?
* ChuckCunninghamSyndrome: Despite being a major character for three seasons, he's nowhere to be seen in the fourth. Presumably the railroad moved past his territories.
* GoodParents: Many Horses is the only good parental figure in the show, always wise and supportive.
* IHaveNoSon: [[spoiler: Towards Joseph, but less ominious than usual: Many Horses says that because he is acknowledging that Joseph is now his own man, and free to trail his own path.]]
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: He is perfectly calm and reasonable, even willing to negotiate with the railroad owners (such negotiations fail, but sure as Hell not because of Many Horses).
* TheStoic: He has yet to smile on screen.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Antagonists]]
!!Thor Gunderson, aka The Swede
->Played by: Christopher Heyerdahl
* AffablyEvil: In the first season. Firmly FauxAffablyEvil in the second [[spoiler: as you can see by him choking the life out of Mrs. Bell while thanking her]]
* ArchEnemy: Could be considered one for Bohannon considering he's the most recurring enemy of the series.
* AxCrazy: He is an unstable maniac who wants it all to burn.
* AwesomeMcCoolname: His first name is the Norse god of thunder, his last name ''sounds'' like thunder, and he has a TheMagnificent title.
* BadassLongcoat
* TheBadGuyWins: [[spoiler: He got everything he wanted in the end of the second season. Even his death was fully part of his plan.]]
* BaldOfEvil: In the second half of season 2.
* BerserkButton: He '''hates''' Cullen Bohannon, dedicating a great deal of his time to messing with the man's life.
** Also, he is ''not'' Swedish. He is ''Norwegian.'' Even when posing as a godly American Mormon, he angrily reminds the indignant Bohannon that "the late Mister Thor Gunderson was Norwegian!"
* BigBad: Of the second season, where most of the conflict is directly related to his [[TheChessmaster machinations]].
* BigEater: Rare is the scene where he is not eating.
* BloodKnight: Not initially, but eventually became a [[ManipulativeBastard manipulative]] battle addict instead of a berserker style battle addict.
* TheChessmaster: Even when he loses his rank, he can still play things to his advantage [[spoiler: [[TheBadGuyWins and eventually wins]]]]
* CloudCuckooLander: By the second season, he has completely lost his marbles.
* CorruptHick: Despite being a northerner and an Immigrant, he fits this trope to a T. When he's not out being the Hanging Judge, he's shaking down businesses and bribing officials to look the other way while he robs his employer.
* TheCorrupter: [[spoiler: Cole already had a few problems before him, but it was The Swede who gave him his final push into villainy]]. Also attempts this on Bohannon for very little reason other than "why not".
* CreepyMortician: Of the gravedigger variety, as of Season 2.
* DeathSeeker: Eventually gets to this point. [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide: His plan for slaughter and destruction of Bohannon's soul complete, he ends his life in peace.]]
* TheDeterminator: [[spoiler: Even being turned into a human fireplace barely stopped him]]
* TheDragon: To Durant.
** Then later to [[spoiler: Brigham Young]], of all people.
* EvilCounterpart / {{Foil}}: As the man himself notes, The Swede is, essentially, Bohannon's dark side personified: A ruthless murderer addicted to battle itself. He is a constant reminder of Bohannon's capacity for evil.
* EvilLaugh: A very bizarre, very foreign "hooting" sound that leaves Bohannon with a bemused expression.
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler: "[[FauxAffablyEvil I wish you...a good day.]]"]]
** Subverted in that he survives.
* FromNobodyToNightmare: From a humble quartermaster to a corrupting and destructive battle addict.
* GodGuise: It is revealed a few Indians believe him to be the White Spirit. Whether or not he believes it to be true, The Swede uses this belief to his advantage.
* HangingJudge: We see him working as a town judge a few times in season one. All of them are related to ordering someone to hang, even when the crime is relatively minor.
--> '''Durant''': You were going to hang a negro for sleeping with a whore?
--> '''Swede''': It seemed appropriate.
* HeroKiller: Killed [[spoiler: Lily Bell]] with his bare hands.
* HowTheMightyHaveFallen: Says the trope's name verbatim in season 2, when referring to his current misfortune.
* {{Hypocrite}}: He compares Bohannon to Loki, the "god of chaos" yet his behavior, especially in the second season, is far more disruptive than Bohannon's bordering ForTheEvulz.
* ICallItVera: He has a sawed-off shotgun named Beauty. "She's an old piece, but she shoots true."
* InLoveWithYourCarnage: See MoodDissonance.
* InsistentTerminology: He's Norwegian, ''not'' Swedish
* InspectorJavert: To Bohannon whom he hunts but unlike the typical Javert he's also a CorruptCop.
* ItHasBeenAnHonor: [[spoiler: He says this to Bohannon before dying. Bohannon disagrees]]
* KnightOfCerebus: The show is pretty grim already, but in the second season, when the Swede enters the scene, you can expect things to get [[SerialEscalation increasingly worse, and in the season finale, even more so.]]
* KnightTemplar: Thinks the city is a filthy hellhole, and that all actions are justified when the goal is maintaining order.
* KnowWhenToFoldEm: The Swede has, more than once, retreated when problems became too great.
* LargeHam: Christopher Heyerdahl's performance as The Swede is always... unique, to say the least.
* LeanAndMean: Thin as a rack after his experiences [[HellholePrison In Andersonville]].
* LightIsNotGood: He is known as "The White Spirit" among the Indians.
* LostInCharacter: As "Bishop Dutson." He gets so wrapped up in selling his religious ecstasy that Bohannon is able to get him to unintentionally admit to the Mormons that he's not who he says he is.
* MadeOfIron: [[spoiler: Shrugs off third-degree burns without further thought after an afternoon of rest. And then he comes back, even though he fell off a significant height into shallow water, in a shot that heavily implied he died on impact.]]
* TheManBehindTheMan: Serves as this to both [[spoiler: Reverend Cole]] and The Sioux.
** It is implied that this is what he will be now that [[spoiler: Brigham Young]] has taken him under his wing.
* ManipulativeBastard: Plays Durant's feeling for Lily to his advantage, plays Crane's greed to his advantage, plays Cole's disillusion to his advantage, plays Lily's good heart to his advantage, e.t.c
* MoodDissonance: Waltzes around in complete happiness [[spoiler: while the town burns to ashes]]
* NotQuiteDead: Turns out falling from a bridge face-first into the water didn't kill him.
* OddFriendship: With Cole.
* OmnicidalManiac: Small-scale version by the end of the second season. He just wants all to ''burn''.
* [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Known Mostly By His Nickname]]: The Swede, even though he's Norwegian. Zig-zagged in Season 2, where everyone just calls him Mr. Gunderson.
* OutOfFocus: His quest to infiltrate the Mormon religion after his faked death in the season two finale has been disconnected from the main Hell on Wheels setting for two seasons now. While not uninteresting, it feels almost out of place. Though, it's clear he's quite desperate to make his return back to the railroad business.
%%* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Gives Bohannon a rather ''nasty'' one.
* Sadist: Just wants to watch the world burn and enjoys watching other people suffer, particularly Bohannon.
* SanitySlippage: Somewhere in-between seasons, he went from HangingJudge to BloodKnight.
* SerialKiller: By season four, vicious murder is practically second nature for him and is his first tactic when he doesn't feel manipulation will be necessary.
* ShellShockedVeteran: Multiple characters say he suffers from "The Soldier's Heart", the period's term for PTSD. Looking at his ThousandYardStare makes this pretty clear.
* TheSheriff: He was, essentially, the law in the first season. [[spoiler: He loses this by second]].
* SinisterMinister: During his time impersonating Bishop Joseph Dutson.
* TheSociopath: Oh yes.
* StrawNihilist: He believes life is pointless in the second season.
* ThoseTwoGuys: With Reverend Cole in season 2.
* TookALevelInBadass: In the first season was noted for being a coward, and his plans mostly backfired on him. In the second, [[BloodKnight not]] [[TheChessmaster quite]] [[ManipulativeBastard so]] on both accounts.
* VisionaryVillain: He has a vision but it [[CloudCuckooLander doesn't make any sense]].
%%* WickedCultured
* WildCard: After losing his position of respect and authority in Hell on Wheels, The Swede becomes completely unpredictable for the rest of the series.
* WorthyOpponent: Seems to consider Bohannon this.

!! Hawkins
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: He recovers from his VillainousBreakdown and dies mocking Bohannon for being a "negro lover".]]
* {{Jerkass}}: He treats everyone like crap, be they subordinate or foes.
* KilledMidSentence: [[spoiler: Fergurson doesn't let him finish his last racist rant.]]
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Often complains about all the "negros" running around.
* VillainousBreakdown: Goes apeshit when [[spoiler: Bohannon comes blasting in his railroad robbery]], and gets increasingly more unstable as he gets the upper hand in a battle.

!! Major Bendix
* AxCrazy: Saying he has poor impulse control would be a massive understatement.
* TheCavalry: Played with. Being a cavalryman, his techinical job description is to be this to Bohannon, but given he's a unstable lunatic, they only call him when the situation is most dire.
* ButForMeItWasTuesday: As summed up by this dialogue, about a massacre that happened no less than a few hours before:
-->'''Bohannon''': [[WouldHitAGirl That woman]] put up much of a fight?
-->'''Bendix'''(''while holding her decapitated head''): I honestly can't recall.
* BrutalHonesty: Bendix is very blunt about his goals and opinions.
* {{Eagleland}}: His thought-route is a classic Type 2.
* FatBastard: A rather chubby fellow.
* FauxAffablyEvil: He is very casual and chatty about the day he murders people.
* MajorlyAwesome: The evil version. Asshole or not, he seems quite good at his job.
* OffWithHisHead: Fond of this tactic, particularly with Indians.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: A ''massive'' bigot against Indians.
* RulesLawyer: He very liberal when interpreting Bohannon's telegrams for help. He basically tries to find (far-fetched) ways of justifying Indian slaughter in them.
* WickedCultured: A subversion. He talks a big game with his very elaborated phrenologist speeches, but phrenology is a long-disproved field of science.

!! Hannah Durant
* AffablyEvil: She's rather polite and civil towards Lily, even though she's planning her downfall.
* NonActionGuy: While literally every living being in the railroad (Including [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Thomas Durant]] and [[ActionGirl Lilly Bell]]) grabs a weapon to fight the Sioux, Hanna screams and hides.
* PragmaticVillainy: Same thing as Durant. Profit above everything, including good and evil.
* ProperLady: She is the living embodiment of the description given on the trope page, only antagonistic.
* PutOnABus: Hasn't been seen since the end of the third season.
%%* SilkHidingSteel

!!John Campbell
-->''Played by'': Jake Weber.
* AntiClimaxBoss: In season four, he has several intimidating encounters with Bohannon, Durant and Mickey, but nothing really ever comes of it. While he does a good job at upping his game and staying on top, the closest he gets to an actual confrontation is when he and Durant get into a brawl in the season four finale.
* {{Badass}}: While never seen in battle, the sheer balls required to march in a WretchedHive with five people and a piece of paper that says he's the governor and strongarming ''the entire community'' to dance to his tune while spiting [[TheChessmaster Durant]] effortlessly qualifies him.
** BadassMustache: A true gentleman's one.
** BadassBaritone: He has a fairly deep voice.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: He is set up as the BigBad of season four, but quickly becomes more heroic when compared to the newly introduced Sidney Snow.
* TheCharmer: He immediately sets his sights on Louise and becomes determined to win her affections. Does pretty well, despite their major differences.
* CombatBreakdown: His fight with Durant quickly turns into this when they barrel into the street and it becomes a clumsy mud brawl.
* TheControlFreak: Rivals Durant in this fashion.
* [[DatingCatwoman Dating Batman:]] Campbell, the cold, authoritarian KnightTemplar governor, enters into a heated sexual affair with the warm, progressive-minded IntrepidReporter, Louise Ellison.
* TheDreaded: Seems to have a reputation as an uncompromising though somewhat controversial enforcer of justice. He is personally chosen by Ulysses Grant to govern Cheyenne.
* FishOutOfWater: He and his entourage are clearly more accustomed to the norms of a city as opposed to the seedy railroad town of Hell On Wheels. Nevertheless, they manage to stir quite a bit of trouble in the form of law and order.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: He was the governor of Cheyenne in real life as well.
* HangingJudge: Played with. For the standards of [[WretchedHive Hell on Wheels]], he's absurdly strict with the law. For the standards of a normal city, he's pretty straight-forward (JudgeJuryAndExecutioner aside).
* HeroAntagonist: He opposes [[CorruptPolitician Durant]], but it's pretty obvious which of them is the most righteous man.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: While he can be outrageously macho and authoritarian, as well as being no stranger to ruthless underhanded tactics, Campbell's intentions are mostly pure. He can be seen aiding the rest of the community [[spoiler: gathering water to the burning church.]]
* JudgeJuryAndExecutioner: Due the lack of a working law system in Hell on Wheels, him and his crew (about five people) are a walking courtroom that trials anything unlawful on their path.
* KangarooCourt: Techinically speaking, his courts are ''horribly'' unfair due the entire jury consisting of his own men, but for the standards of order of Hell on Wheels, [[WretchedHive they're as good as they get]].
* KnightTemplar: Sees himself as a guardian of civilization.
* LargeHam: Not overt like most examples, but his rumbly voice and the deliberately unflappable, dominant and imposing demeanor that he exudes everywhere he goes can come off as over-the-top.
* NumberTwo: To Ulysses Grant, at least in regards to the railroad.
* OrderVersusChaos: He firmly represents Order in the chaos-ridden land that is Cheyenne.
* OutGambitted: Possibly the only man to inflict this upon ''Durant''.
** He does the same to Mickey, who until then had proven himself quite the ManipulativeBastard.
* TheRival: To Durant, for the control of the railroad.
* RulesLawyer: Makes this trope into an art form to take power of Hell on Wheels by any means necessary.
* TwilightOfTheOldWest: While not explicitly linked to this trope, Campbell (as Lampshaded by several character) is almost a physical representation of it: A bringer of order in the lawless lands of the West, civilizing it, taming it and stopping the "any man makes his own law" behavior that characterizes the period and the genre.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: While he does do some pretty shady things from time to time, his sole goal is to bring civilization and order to Hell on Wheels.

!!Sidney Snow
* AffablyEvil
* AlasPoorVillain: [[spoiler: As he sits bleeding to death after an escape attempt, Snow reminisces a sad tale about a Union soldier he had found on a battlefield missing half his body and then asks Bohannon to tell Ruth he didn't mean to kill Ezra.]]
* AlliterativeName
* AnArmAndALeg: [[spoiler: Durant saws his leg to keep him from bleeding to death internally.]]
* {{Badass}}: Quite so. He's able to escape death more than once due to his quick thinking, sharp reflexes and shooting skills.
* BaitAndSwitchBoss: While John Campbell was set up as the BigBad throughout most of season four, he becomes relatively benign when Sidney Snow enters the picture.
* BeardOFEvil
* BlondeGuysAreEvil
* BloodKnight
* CatchPhrase: "Life's a mystery."
* CombatPragmatist
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler: After sustaining painful gunshot wounds to the stomach and leg, and subsequently the painful process of removing those bullets, Snow tries to escape and ends up tearing his wounds open again. This forces Bohannon and Durant to saw off his leg as he screams horrifically. Hours later, he tries to escape again out a window, opening up his leg wound. He slowly bleeds to death.]]
* TheDrifter: He's apparently just been roaming from place to place and getting into trouble after the war.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: He notably lowers his gun when he finds Naomi and her baby cowering in a corner after very nearly shooting them. Not that this excuses the fact that he killed a young boy and a helpless store owner seconds earlier.
** He is also clearly unsettled when he realizes he shot the kid. And later apologizes for [[spoiler: causing Ezra's death.]]
* EvilCounterpart: To Cullen Bohannon. While Bohannon is a stoic, brooding, dark anti-hero who regrets the bad things he does, Sidney Snow is an energetic, hedonistic, AffablyEvil {{Outlaw}} who chooses to relish in the violence he commits.
* GunsAkimbo: What he prefers. Looks especially cool when he's carrying two pearl-handled revolvers from Mexico.
* {{Jerkass}}: He is an abrasive, racist, bloodthirsty, sociopathic loose cannon.
* LackOfEmpathy: Has the tendency to make light of innocent bystanders and partners in crime who are caught in the crossfire of his violence, even if he initially feels bad for their deaths.
* LaserGuidedKarma: [[spoiler: He burns down Ruth's church, killing her adopted son Ezra in the process. This results in Ruth's DespairEventHorizon, causing her to shoot Snow the next time she sees him.]] He does not fare well after this.
* TheManTheyCouldntHang: He is introduced about to be hanged by a gangster in Mexico. While he and his partner manage to gun down the gangster and his two friends, Snow's partner dies in the process, leaving Snow hanging from the tree. He is able to cut the rope enough that it snaps shortly after Snow loses consciousness. He rides out of the desert and lands in Cheyenne later on.
* OmnicidalManiac: After losing to Bohannon and going on the run, [[spoiler: Snow locks a large number of townspeople in the church and sets it on fire. Several people die, including young Ezra.]] He also looks back on a mass slaughter of wounded and defenseless Union soldiers that he and Cullen took part in as "only the best day of our lives," before describing the event with loving detail.
* {{Outlaw}}
* PsychoForHire: He is made a ''federal marshal'' by Campbell in attempt to outplay Durant and Mickey, and Snow quickly gets to work meting out "justice."
* StepfordSmiler: Has a perfectly happy and pleasant smile on his face most of the time. He's not a nice person at all.
* TheSociopath
** SociopathicSoldier: Ruthlessly dispatched enemy soldiers alongside Cullen during the war.
* StupidEvil: His brazen bad-boy antics often have devastating consequences that he barely acknowledges, increasing his problems and his tendency towards evil. [[spoiler: There's also the two times he tries to escape during the surgery meant to save him from dying of gunshot wounds, both of which ruin all the efforts made to keep him alive.]]
* WeUsedToBeFriends: With Bohannon.
* WouldHurtAChild

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Others]]
!!Sen. Jordan Crane
->Played by: James D. Hopkin
* CorruptPolitician: Accepts a bribe from Durant in the pilot.

!! "Doc" Whitehead
* TheAtoner: Regarding his misdeeds as member of a gang of thieves.
* CharacterDeath: [[spoiler: He asks Bohannon to shoot him.]]
* CombatMedic: Not many doctors can have a fistfight with a Sioux warrior like he did.
* DeathSeeker: [[spoiler: Because of his misdeeds as a thief, Whitehead is very glad with death, and actively seeks it.]]
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler: He is calmly looking at the horizon when Bohannon shoots him.]]
* AGoodWayToDie: [[spoiler: He feels this way at the end, saying he had a good life, and that it's a good way to end his life on Earth.]]
* HonorBeforeReason: Decides to stay with Durant, even though it's certain he'll die.
* MoralityChain: For Bohannon. He tries to keep the guy from turning into the Swede.
* TheMedic: Quite literally, in Hawkin's gang (and later on Hell on Wheels, for a brief amount of time).
* MercyKill: [[spoiler: He asks Bohannon to shoot him so he will die with a friend by his side.]]
* [[OnlyKnownByTheirNickname Known Mostly By His Nickname]]: Everyone calls him "Doc" or HeyYou.
* PunchClockVillain: He served as a medic for a gang of thieves, but only because he had no other option.
* TokenGoodTeammate: Alongside Bohannon, he was this in Hawkins' gang.

!! Declan Toole
* AmbiguouslyEvil: At this point, it's very hard to tell if he's evil or not, but Eva and Elam certainly feel very scared of him.
* {{Badass}}: His opening scene has him effortlessly beating down a thief, and he barely blinks at Ferguron's threats.
** BadassInANiceSuit: His suit is in much better shape than other people in Hell On Wheels.
* CarryABigStick: Well not a "big" stick, but his WeaponOfChoice is a police baton and he can surely wreak some havoc with it.
* DashinglyDapperDerby: His NiceHat.
* DoggedNiceGuy: His persistence about wanting to whisk Eva and her baby away to live happily in New York is not well received by her and Elam.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: He walks out of a train, sees a thief robbing a man, promptly beats the thief down and gives the man his walllet back. This establishes Declan as a man of old-fashioned values in the crapsack world that is Hell on Wheels.
* FairCop: He apparently was a cop in New York.
* HonorBeforeReason: His motivation is taking Eva's baby (with her consent) to give it a better life. No matter how much trouble even suggesting that causes him.
* NervesOfSteel: Impressively coolheaded when he's captured by Elam and Psalms and threatened with death. He's able to walk away relatively unharmed, whereas his brother's mouth would have likely gotten him beaten to a pulp.
* OfficerOHara: A classic irish copper.
* PutOnABus: Or rather, a train. He leaves by train with Eva and Elam's baby and never returns.
* SiblingYinYang: He is calm, collected and cultured, everything Toole was ''not''.

!! UsefulNotes/UlyssesSGrant
* TheAlcoholic: He gets an entire scene to talk about how this is a problem for a president.
* {{Badass}}: Both in the show and real-life.
* BigGood: He is the only political figure to be actually trying to finish the railroad for the country's sake (unlike [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Durant]]).
* CigarChomper: In literally every scene of his, he is smoking a cigar.
* DeadpanSnarker: He gets quite a few jabs at Durant.
* FourStarBadass: ''General'' "Unconditional Surrender" Grant, after all.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter
* OnlySaneMan / TokenGoodTeammate: Of the entire "[[KangarooCourt Trial]]" set to judge Bohannon, he seems to be the only individual actually trying to pursue ''justice''.

!! Louise Ellison
* BiTheWay: Confirmed as of season four.
* TheConscience: She often assumes this role alongside Ruth and Bohannon.
* DatingCatwoman: With John Campbell, who she challenges publicly in her newspaper but also sleeps with behind closed doors.
* IntrepidReporter. She is at Hell On Wheels to cover the building of the railroad and does so as honestly as possible
* LipstickLesbian[=/=]AmbiguouslyBi: She got shipped out west at least partly to keep her away from her boss' daughter but she didn't seem to mind when Bohannon kissed her either. She didn't really respond but that could have been just because she was shocked and surprised.
** In season four, she begins an affair with Governor John Campbell so it's likely she just swings both ways.
* TheNarrator: From time to time.
* NiceGirl: She is very kind, polite and caring toward people.
* RapeAsDrama: She is raped by the same man who later rapes Eva. She witnesses Eva kill him and keeps it a secret.
* UnwittingPawn: Durant pointed her towards the murders Bohannon commited in revenge and then used her story against him at the trial.
[[/folder]]
----